Polo, a 6-year-old dog owned by a Baltimore family, is being hailed a hero after the pooch saved the life of an 8-month-old baby. According to a CBS News report, Polo sacrificed his own life while saving the life of little Viviana, who was trapped in a fire. What makes the story remarkable is the fact that the loyal dog tried to shield the baby from the flames using his own body.
The tragic incident happened at the home of Erika Poremski, who lived with her daughter, Viviana, and her dog, Polo. While the cause of the fire remains unclear, Erika told news reporters that the fire was very abrupt and that it suddenly broke out while she was outside the home and was near her car. Viviana and Polo were still inside the home when the fire broke out. When Erika tried to get into the home in a bid to save both of them, she noticed that the fire had spread very quickly across the home. She told CBS News that in spite of several attempts made to reach her baby, she was unable to get inside the home.
“I tried to keep getting in. She was up the stairs, but the fire smoke was so heavy I couldn’t get past it… I kept running back out and back in, trying to get up there. Then, the door curling started falling and I couldn’t get back in.”
— NBC12 WWBT Richmond (@NBC12) August 19, 2016
In her attempt to get back into the house, Poremski suffered burns to her face and hands. In fact, so intent was Poremski to get into the house that she did not notice that part of her skin came off her hands after she grabbed a hot railing that led to her home.
“I couldn’t see all the skin was off my hand from grabbing the rail and it melted off,” she told CBS News.
By now, others in the area saw that the fire was turning into an inferno and called emergency services. Erika could hear the cries of her baby. However, at the time, she had no clue where Polo was. She was, however, sure of the fact that Polo could have made an attempt to escape the heat of the flames and saved himself. The dog, she believes, chose to stay with Viviana and shielded her from the flames until help came. Weeping as she described the ultimate sacrifice made by Polo, she termed Polo as her “first baby before Viviana.”
“He was my first baby before Viv. He was like my child,” she told CBS News. “He followed us everywhere.”
A few minutes after emergency and fire services were called, local firefighters reached the home and managed to douse the flames. Firefighters were able to quickly reach the second floor of the home where they found little Viviana still alive. She was rushed to the hospital with burn injuries to her arm and sides. What surprised Erika, however, was the revelation by one of the firefighters that Polo was found shielding Viviana from the flames and that the dog was still covering the little baby when they reached her. The firefighter said that they were able to revive Viviana at the scene before she was transported to a hospital for emergency treatment.
— Jeffnfun631 (@Jeffnfun631) August 19, 2016
Unfortunately for Erika, Polo was unable to survive the blaze and succumbed to burn injuries a few hours after the incident. Poremski went on to add that her dog had a premonition about the fire. She told reporters that Polo was acting weird all throughout the day when the fire broke out.
“That day of the fire, he was acting weird all day. I even told a friend I was going to take him to vet. He was crying and following me around and had a seizure from anxiety.”
Baby Viviana is still listed in a serious condition. Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help the family pay for Viviana’s medical bills. So far, they have been able to raise more than $17,000.
Reminiscing about Polo, Erika added, “He was everything to me along with my daughter. I’m losing everything I love in the blink of an eye. I feel like I’m drowning and can’t get out.”
[Image via GoFundMe]